Grocery stores are part of the retail and food services sector and fall under the food and beverage store business category. Grocery store sales increased in 2010 and 2011 after experiencing negative inflation-adjusted growth during the 2007–2009 recession.
In 2011, the nation’s 212,000 traditional foodstores sold $571 billion of retail food and nonfood products. Grocery stores, including supermarkets, accounted for the largest share of foodstore sales (91%), followed by convenience stores without gasoline (5.5%), and specialized foodstores (3.4%).
In 2012, sales by the 20 largest food retailers totaled $420.8 billion and accounted for 62.1% of U.S. grocery store sales, a 39.2% increase from 1992.
Since the late 1990s, nontraditional retailers (supercenters and warehouse club stores) have increased their share of sales, compared with traditional retailers. The largest U.S. retailer of grocery products is Wal-Mart Supercenters, followed by second-place Kroger, the largest traditional grocery retailer.
Most recently, dollar stores (Dollar General and Family Dollar) and drugstores (Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens) have entered the non-traditional grocery store fray by expanding their retail food offerings.